Welcome to my first blog post! Since it's also the first day of winter, I think it's very fitting that this post be about two of my favourite winter things: tea and Christmas! Ok, I probably won't be talking so much about Christmas as I will about pine tea but pine makes me think of Christmas so basically the same right? In any case, on we go!
First a bit of history...
Pine needle tea, more specifically white pine needle tea, has been traditionally used by Native Americans for its healing properties. In fact, when European settlers came to America in the 1500's, they were introduced to pine tea as a cure for scurvy thanks to the high vitamin C content in the pine needles.
But does it really have healing powers?
Yes! White pine needle tea has several health benefits. The main use for pine tea is to help clear coughs or chest congestion in colds or flu (perfect for this time of year!) How does it do this? Well we already talked about the high vitamin C content of the needles but did you know pine tea can also act as an expectorant (helps thin mucous so it's easier to cough up). Aside from it being a super cold/cough fighting tea, it's also being researched for benefits in heart disease, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's, and exercise recovery!
Felicia, where do I find this magical, super, healing pine needle tea you ask?
It's quite easy to find pine needles around this time of year, even if you don't live in an evergreen forest. I went to my local florist and bought a couple boughs of pine (it's great for Christmas decorating too if that interests you). Then, you can follow the recipe below and voilà! Pine needle tea!
A word of caution...
If you do live near a forest and want to pick your own pine needles for tea, just be sure to avoid Ponderosa, Norfolk Island, and Yew pine varieties as they can be toxic if ingested. Also, if you're pregnant or allergic to pine, this tea is not the best choice for you.
Alright, without further adieu, here is the recipe. Enjoy, happy holidays and let me know what your favourite holiday teas and traditions are!
Pine Tea Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Handful of fresh, washed pine needles
1. Remove brown sheaths at base of needles
2. Chop needles into 1/2 inch pieces
3. Place needles in a tea infuser
4. Add boiling water to your uplifting mug (it's ok to use a regular mug too if you must)
5. Steep for 7 minutes*
6. Enjoy your tea and say goodbye to that nasty cold!
* Note: for medicinal tea boil 1 tbs of chopped needles in a pot for 3 minutes, wait for water to cool slightly before drinking
Delcourt, Bonnie. “White Pine Needle Tea: Healing .” White Pine Needle Tea: Healing, www.manataka.org/page1474.html.
Durzan, Don J. “Arginine, Scurvy and Cartier's ‘Tree of Life.’” Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, BioMed Central, 2 Feb. 2009, ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1746-4269-5-5.
Starnater, Eddie. “Pine Needle Tea.” Practical Primitive, 2015, www.practicalprimitive.com/skillofthemonth/pineneedletea.html.